Posted 06 02 18

She beheaded, or not

In college I counted Doug Parker among my friends, he a talented artiest enrolled in BU’s School of Fine Arts, overlapping the last year of Faye Dunaway’s studies there, she a talented actress.

One night Doug and I went to a school play she was in to see a friend of Doug’s, Georgianne Boyle, who had a small part in the play. I forget the name of the play. I want to say Ibsen’s Brand, but I won’t since I know it wasn’t. My wife, Toni-Lee had one of our first dates attending that particular play.
Georgianne came at the beginning of my freshman year; I met Toni-lee in the spring semester of that year.
Anyway, Doug and I in the audience, the already famous Faye Dunaway on the stage, Act II, enter G Boyle. With her long fingers she slowly brushed her auburn hair, her large brown eyes searching me out, finding me, her mesmerizing voice dreamy and sexy, I fell instantly in love. how could I not?

Doug and I went backstage to meet her. We also said something complimentary to Faye, of course, who offhandedly returned our greeting while she scanned her well-wishers for anyone who meant something to her.

I didn’t mention that dismissive incident to her in the year we became friends near two decades later.

In the 1970s Dom’s restaurant had become enmeshed in the rock and roll scene and we hosted virtually every major group that came into the city. Peter Wolf being a native Bostonian, was a regular at the restaurant. We’re talking visits that began after midnight. Long after the restaurant closed to regular diners. We’re talking subdued but regular police presence, to ensure the safety of the stars.

Peter was married then to Faye Dunaway, she also a patron and a friend. From time to time I permitted my three young sons to come downstairs after bedtime to meet one or another of the stars. We lived above the restaurant. They became friendly with Faye D., she being solicitous of them.

Faye’s “The Four Musketeers” newly-released, we naturally went to see it, en famille.

The boys were 9, 7, and 5, Chris being the five-year-old, and quite literal-minded, taking everything at face value. So when he saw Faye beheaded, Chris began to bawl. Nothing any of us said could deprive him of the “I’ve seen it with my own eyes” belief that his friend Faye D. was now without her head. Disconsulate.

Months later, the incident by now a just a memory, the boys in bed and asleep, Faye calls me at the restaurant. Peter is on tour but she’d like to come in for dinner. Would I have time to join her for dinner? That’s an “Of course.”

She ordered a bottle of Schramsberg Blanc de Blanc, an excellent California sparkling vinified in the style of Champagne, she poured the glasses, and we said hello. It only took a couple of minutes for the idea to form.

I told her Chris’ story and asked if she would take the time to prove to little Chris that she still walked among us. Of course.

He was fast asleep when I lifted him from bed and still mostly asleep as I carried him down the three flights of stairs to the dining room, to Faye’s table. I sat and waited as he struggled in my lap to find a comfortable niche to return to sleep. As he tried to figure out where he was and why. As he tried to see through the blur at the person across the table from him.

Interesting, she.
Somehow familiar.

He opened and closed his eyes several times to clear them.
He focused.
He blinked.
He froze.
He smiled.
It was she.
He grinned.
His friend.
With her head.

She smiled at him.
God! She was beautiful.
He looked up at me for an explanation.

“You see, sweetheart, she’s fine. What we saw was pretend.” She gave him a long hug and kiss.

Back in bed, peace and reassurance (and fatigue) brought immediate sleep to the big guy.